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Local Store Owner Critical After Shooting, Attempted Robbery In West Oak Lane

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By Elizabeth Hur

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Police say a robbery in West Oak Lane ended with a store owner shot and hospitalized in extremely critical condition.

Family members identified the victim as 39-year-old Luis Espinal.

“I was like Oh god, is this for real? Really happening?” Julio Espinal Jr said.

Julio is the victim’s nephew. He did not want to show his face on camera but told Eyewitness News, he rushed over to the store just as soon as he heard the news and found neighbors who frequent the store also in shock and disbelief.

“They look out for us. We look out for them and we were talking to the neighbors and let them know and they were like, oh no this happened to Papi? They refer to him as Papi,” Julio added.

According to police, it happened around 7:30 Tuesday evening at Super Chicken Grocery store located at the corner of Rodney and Haines Streets. The 39-year-old victim was working behind the cash register when police say the gunman stormed in.

“The perpetrator entered the store, went right behind the counter, reached into the cash box and there was a struggle between the victim and the perpetrator,” Chief Inspector Scott Small explained.

Police say the suspect fired three shots. The victim was hit twice — once in his chest and once in his right arm.

“We have two good witnesses. One was a customer who was inside the store. We have a second witness who was outside the store. They’re both being interviewed at Northwest Detectives at this time,” Chief Small added.

In addition to good eyewitnesses, police say they also recovered surveillance video from inside the store. The suspect was wearing a ski mask at the time of the robbery so detectives hope to identify the suspect through other evidence gathered from the scene.

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